If my uncle hired a twice-convicted registered sex offender as his farm hand but never informed us of this and my son was molested, can I file a civil suit against my uncle?

My uncle knew of this man’s criminal past. My uncle did not inform us (his family) of this fact (and which I know legally he did not have to do) and took my children around this man. The man molested my 6 year old son twice. The man is now in prison. He plead guilty and is serving two concurrent 18 year sentences. I know I can’t bring any criminal charges against my uncle (although if he had told us of this man’s past, my son would have never been allowed at my uncle’s house or around the man anywhere). Can I sue for the fact that his actions (or lack thereof) caused my child emotional and physical harm?

Asked on July 29, 2014 under Personal Injury, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you uncle knew that the employee was a registered sex offender and nonetheless exposed your children to him, then yes--you may be able to sue him under the theory of "negligent hiring" or "negligent supervision"--that he was negligent, or unreasonably careless, in hiring and retaining an employee whom he knew posed an unusual or exceptional risk of harm. That can give rise  to liability. You should consult with an attorney about the specifics of your son's situation, to more fully evaluate the case.

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